Tactical Assault: Layne Beachley Interview

As reported here on surfingthemag.com yesterday, there was some controversy surrounding 16-year-old Oahu wahine Carissa Moore's victory in the Reef Hawaiian Pro in Haleiwa. All the chaos, however, has nothing to do with Moore -- rather, the storm is brewing between runner-up Layne Beachley and North Shore local Coco Ho. See, things got eggy when Ho -- who could have secured a spot on the ASP Women's World Tour had she won the event -- found herself in fourth place in the last minute of the Final. Beachley, needing only a 6.68 to overtake Moore and win, found the wave she needed approaching. Moore, out of position, could do nothing but watch and hope the inevitable wouldn't happen. But Coco, who was sitting on the inside of Beachley, turned and burned -- either unaware that Beachley was deeper or very aware and attempting to keep the 7X World Champ from getting the score she needed. That's where things get dicey. Layne, who is retiring after this year, was openly disturbed with the way things unfolded and is calling for more awareness for tactics like this in professional surfing.

The ASP's Rules and Discipline Judge Robert Gerard issued the following statement today: " The ASP is actively investigating the possible violation of its competition rules which may have occurred in the Final.... The ASP takes enforcement of its competition and sportsmanship rules very seriously. The ASP ... will be interviewing the involved athletes, witnesses and reviewing videotape on the incident on Saturday morning. As always, Robert will not be issuing a decision once all variables have been analyzed and is confident that a fair outcome will be delivered."

In the meantime, SURFING caught up with Layne today to discuss Thursday's Final and the controversial burn:

SURFING MAGAZINE: Before we get into the interference, how was the Final as a whole -- as far as amount of waves and quality of surfing?

LAYNE: Ages: 16,17,17,36. Basically it was like David {{{X3}}} vs. Goliath. I feel we all went down a notch in the Final, like we were all expecting each other to win. I knew Carissa was going to be dangerous, especially considering how aggressive she was in my semi. She sat under me, next to me and on top of me, which frustrated me, but at least she got that out of her system by the time the Final started. Then Laura blocked me and Coco dropped in on me, so for me it was a very frustrating and testing Final. None of us really surfed our best -- we missed waves due to hassling and we all were waiting for someone to completely dominate the Final and nobody did.

We've heard what the ASP has to say thus far about the incident. What are your thoughts on the interference and what kind of outcome would you like to see come from this?

I know this kind of thing happens in Men’s WQS events and the ASP has been discussing establishing a rule to prevent such deplorable and un-sporting actions. It disappoints me that it occurred in the final of a prime event, especially in my last year on tour. Imagine if it was the other way around and Coco needed to win and I dropped in on her? There are so many what-if’s. I think she should be disciplined as the ASP sees fit. I think also the fact that Coco was the perpetrator has made it that much more shocking, because she is the last girl you would expect it from. Ultimately, I don’t hassle girls because I respect my opponents. If they have the ability to catch a wave and out surf me then they deserve to win. This just demonstrated a lack of respect and immaturity.

Do you think that wave would have given you the score you needed?

I’m {{{100}}}% confident that the wave would have given me the score I needed. It held open long enough to do 3 solid turns! I could do nothing but pull my hair out by the end of it. If Coco pulled off after looking back the second time and seeing me there again, I still would have had enough time to start doing turns. But her fakey air prevented any possibility of doing anything!

Did you approach the ASP with concerns yesterday?

They all saw it with their own eyes. I don’t need to bring it to anyone’s attention. It’s disappointing that someone so talented and supported can stoop to such levels and destroy everything she has spent the last 17 years creating. The ASP and the whole women’s tour are as disappointed as I am.

Stay tuned for any updates or interviews.